Friday, 10 June 2011

The weaving continues

Now that I'm wearing the jacket this blog is finished. I've begun a new blog  to document the other projects planned. There is a set of little all-in-one-piece zipped and buttoned bags, river rocks I'm weaving covers for, and plans for a bag on a cardboard box, experiments in twill, and a watercolour effect weaving/embroidery. Check for my further adventures in weaving.

Monday, 16 May 2011

The finished jacket

I found out that it is possible to weave a jacket all in one piece. It fits well and is comfortable. I also found out that the method I used is much too unwieldy. I wouldn't do it again like this. I haven't stopped thinking about how it could be done better, but that won't be for a while, if ever!

Friday, 6 May 2011

The last of the weaving

Nearly finished weaving the sleeve
I finished weaving the sleeves and removed the cardboard form. I couldn't resist trying it on at this stage, but it looked ragged and was heavy because it was still attached to the loomskin.

Inside front panel showing the warp threads
needing to be darned in and weft threads needing to be clipped.
Finally I could remove all the holding stitches and release the jacket from the loomskin. The next step is tidying up. The ends of warp need to be darned in at the neck edge, buttonholes and hems. The weft threads were fastened in during weaving so all I have to do with those is to clip them off.

The jacket off the loomskin shown right side out.
Most of the weft threads have been pulled to the inside
and the warp threads at the neck edge and buttonholes
have been darned in.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Weaving the sleeves

I rolled and taped the previously made specially shaped cardboard forms forming sleeve-shaped tube structures. Then I stuffed the cuff, centre, and shoulder areas with tightly rolled cardboard. The tubes were inserted into the sleeves. I pinned the cuff into position and tightly tied the top at the shoulder. Then I rolled the rest of the jacket around the tops of the tubes. I ended up with a long cylinder with a sleeve at each end. I began to weave at the top of the sleeves.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Finishing weaving the body section

weaving the last two rows at the hem
I wove to the hem and then removed the weaving from the form in preparation for weaving the very last section; the sleeves.

detail of last two rows

finished body section after removal from the form

Monday, 25 April 2011

Weaving the body section

With the tricky section complete I removed the weaving from the form and emptied the sleeves of all the cardboard and bottles used to fill them. 

Then I put the loomskin back onto the body form and safety pinned it down the front. I pinned the bottom edge of the loomskin firmly to the form and drew the top of the weaving together with large tacking tied tightly to draw the weaving as taut as possible.

I did some freeform weaving in the underarm section to level out the weaving line and then began to weave level rows back and forth around the body.

Half way down, I  released another tension row around the bottom and unpinned and repinned the bottom to tighten it. I discovered I had to re-tension the shaping wedges separately because they had way too much slack.  I'll need to darn in the extra length at the hem later.
shaping wedge with way too much slack

shaping wedge after re-tensioning

Sunday, 24 April 2011

The tricky section, second attempt

This time I took the form I made for weaving the body section and added cardboard caps for the shoulders and a drinks bottle rammed into the top of the sleeve. A strip of cardboard wrapped around the bottle with wedges of folded cardboard inserted inside it filled it out to the right size. I re-tied the tourniquets around the sleeves. I pinned the loomskin firmly in place top and bottom across the front and back. This held well enough to weave this section.

This section was complete when the weft threads met under the sleeve.

Then I did a row of hem stitching to stabilize the edge of the weaving on the sleeve.

Sunday, 20 March 2011


As I was celebrating finishing the shoulder section I suddenly realized a problem with the next section. I still have about 4 inches to weave around the whole jacket before I can begin to weave the sleeves and body separately on their own forms which I prepared before cutting up the loomskin. But I have no form for this part. How could I have overlooked this?!

This section is the most complicated part that goes across the body and over the sleeves above the point where the weft meets just under the arm. It needs to incorporate the underarm sections of the loomskin which I cut out in order to warp them and now need to re-insert.

Even though I didn't have a solution for the weaving I went ahead and re-assembled the loomskin. I pinned the joins onto a strip of styrofoam and sewed with large stitches in contrasting yarn.

For my first attempt at creating a form to weave this tricky section I used Frieda the dressmaker's dummy. I dressed her in a denim jacket, put the loomskin over it and then stuffed the shoulders with stuffing from an old pillow. I then pulled the warp down firmly and tied it really tightly (with my husband's help) like a tourniquet at the waist and elbows. I began to weave, but it was impossible to get anywhere near the right tension with such a squishy form. I unpicked most of the rows and disassembled the form.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Finished weaving the shoulder section

front view

back view
Now this section is completely woven. I'm pleased with the way the shaping worked: it tapers to three threads deep at the front. To anchor the edge of the weaving for the next phase, I did a row of temporary contrasting hem stitching.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Weaving the shoulder section

Weaving this section was enjoyable and didn't take too long. The stuffed shape sat comfortably propped between my knees and the coffee table. I kept thinking of a turtle as I wove around the dome!

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Getting ready to weave the shoulder section

The shoulder section is a strip which curves around the cap of the shoulders. It extends from the edge of the yoke to the point at which the sleeves and body separate . At the back it is about 15 cm deep tapering to about 2 cm at the front edges. 

The shoulder section viewed from the back
To get ready to weave this part, I laid out the loomskin on a large sheet of cardboard. Poking through the loomskin with pins, I marked the cardboard with the shape of the shoulder section. I cut it out and taped it into the proper 3-D shape. This I taped to the inside of the loomskin along the edge of the yoke. Then I wrapped the whole contraption around Frieda's shoulders (the dress maker's dummy) and sewed the loomskin closed across the neck, down the front and along the cut lines as far down as the bottom of this section. This produced a dome shaped structure which I stuffed with one and a half old pillows. Finally I attached a flat cardboard base. 
The warp pinned in place underneath
I pulled the loomskin down around the base and pinned it in place firmly to tension the warp. The rest of the length of the sleeves and body of the loomskin is folded away below the base.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Weaving the yoke

Once the tension problem was solved, weaving the yoke could commence. At the neck edge it was tricky to keep the pairs of threads in the right order. I had to keep following the warp threads down to the holding stitches at the edge of the yoke to check that they weren't crossing over. Once the first two picks were in place, the order was established and it was easier. Even so, as I went, threads got crossed a few times. Eventually I realized I could re-cross them in the next row. The surface is so tweady that this is not visible.

(So, in future, I need to establish the cross while warping to begin with. The order is obvious when the pins are in place, but it is very easy for the threads to trade positions when the pins are pulled out and the turns of warp are then held in place by yarn through the holding stitches. I could lay in a dummy weft in contrasting yarn while the pins are in place and before threading the yarn through the holding stitches. This one extra step while laying the warp would save a lot of frustration and unpicking while weaving.)  

The last pick at the edge of the yoke, I did as a row of locking stitches (under two threads and back over one, called Egyptian knot*) to stabilize the edge. In this tweady weave, this row is not visible, but it makes a slightly firmer raised line.

weave down to knots
I also needed to keep track of the points where shaping wedges are introduced into the weaving. I used contrasting yarn stitched through the loomskin and knotted around the turn in the warp to hold these extra warp pairs in place. These knots and their loose ends are proving very helpful at this stage. I can see when I am coming to the top of a new pair of warps and can make sure the knot is pulled into position between the correct warp threads. I weave down to it and two picks past before starting to include the new threads into the weaving. (I need to do this to account for stretch in the warp. If I introduce the new pair of warps into the weaving exactly where they turn, a hole appears when I release the warp from tension.)  

first row past the knots

second row past the knots

weaving including the new warps
* I found the name of this stitch in Needleweaving: Easy as Embroidery by Warner Dendel.

Friday, 4 February 2011

Getting started again

I've had the cast off my wrist for nearly three weeks now and have regained enough strength and mobility to begin weaving this project again.

The first thing to do was to solve the tension problem. I removed the duct tape at the collar edge and pinned it down firmly instead. Then I used strips of anti-slip mat to grip the warp and pull it taut. Pins in strips of cardboard hold it in place ready for weaving.